newbody4me asked redefiningbodyimage:
just wondering, why don’t you like the artwork from arthlete?
(This turned into a bit of a rant, so I decided to make it an actual post.)
I do not identify with fitspo messaging at all, nor do I think it’s universally helpful in finding peace, love, and acceptance in oneself both internally and externally. I have written and discussed this and arthlete’s work in the past, but I will elaborate.
Much of the artwork featured on that blog holds a body image ideal up on a pedestal, suggesting that certain body types are more healthy and fit, that we should aspire to reach this predetermined level of health and fitness, when not everyone has the privilege to center their thoughts, time, and energy around sculpting their bodies in this way. Not everyone will get those results. Not everyone finds that shit helpful.
For instance, exhibit #1:
This, from my perspective, is simply an unhealthy way of thinking about fitness. I say this based on my own personal experience, which many people have related to. It may be helpful to some people, but I actually find it very harmful - in fact, I find it contradicts this piece entirely.
When I look at that first image and read the associated words, I don’t perceive it as positive or helpful or motivational - it does nothing for those of us with mental or chronic health issues, who struggle some days to get out of bed let alone go to the gym. In fact, it makes us feel like the girl in the second comic - inadequate, like we’re doing everything wrong, because we can’t just “talk ourselves into it” - we have other shit to deal with.
I just can not look at it in those terms, I can not afford to maintain any sort of weight loss mentality, it’s like beating my head against a brick wall. I used to do that, and the guilt would be overpowering to a point where I couldn’t get out of this cycle of hating myself, before I realized that it’s not about that.
It’s about knowing and realizing what health and fitness means to me, personally, and separating that definition from this pristine level of health that is so often pushed in our faces.Just because my level of health and fitness doesn’t involve lifting weights or working out on a consistent basis doesn’t make me inadequate. It doesn’t mean I’m talking myself out of anything. I’m just doing the best with what I’ve got.
These are the stories that need to be told. This is the kind of messaging that needs to be spread - that all bodies are good bodies, health does not have one definition, and fitness looks different for everyone.
…along with a lot of other similar body and health-shaming content that floats around the internet, passed along by blogs like arthlete, is what I aim to combat.
When I see shit like that, it triggers all of this intense hatred I had for my body in the past, when I would work and work and work to try to lose the weight and it never happened. It triggers the intense anxiety I feel as a person who has a really complex relationship with my weight, my fitness, my mental health, my everything. It pits one body type against another. It is so, so harmful and body-shaming and horrible to me.
If this sort of thing is helpful to you, that is fine - I can not speak for you. But it needs to be acknowledged there are different sides to this shit. That’s all.